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Yes, that time is here again. The time when you fetch all the crafty stuff boxes from the garage or run around to craft stores searching for something unique. You steer your kids away from pics of the complicated multi-step Valentines and the sugary licensed super-hero objects, and towards the simple, healthy, quick projects that you can proudly post to Pinterest. They love those, right?

We get it. And we have a solution.

Meet the Oh Baby Squeeze Valentines for kids of all ages. Print, cut, glue, tie, and then drop these off with your baby, toddler, and preschooler, and your Valentines duty is done. No sugar rush involved and you become that parent that teachers love and remember.

We must thank The Funky Polkadot Giraffe for this original idea and the template. She is so creative! And generous to share.

Use the templates below and let us know how it worked out. Send a pic and we’ll share with parents in the same boat. Have fun!

Valentine Squeeze Inner PDF

Valentines_squeeze_outer

Sneaky Mac-N-Cheesy: recipe for toddlers

SneakyMacNCheesyRecipe

 

Who doesn’t love mac-n-cheese? Homemade or out of the box, parents can count on their kiddos to ask for more. This Oh Baby recipe adds a huge helping of Vitamins A & C thanks to Wise Punkin, which is the same color as the “regular” recipe.

Disclaimer: this stuff is good. I mean really good. As long as you use quality ingredients, it is good for you. AND I’m sure you deserve it. 

3 C                med shell macaroni, uncooked
1 Tbsp          olive oil
2 Tbsp          whole wheat flour
1 C                whole milk
1 C                plain yogurt
2 pouches     Wise Punkin Oh Baby puree
2 C                cheddar cheese (shredded)
1/4 C             Parmesan (grated)
dash              topping of choice: herbs, panko

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Cook macaroni al dente. In a sauce pan, heat olive oil over medium heat, add flour, cook and stir until bubbly. Gradually stir in milk and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Allow to thicken, 3-5 minutes. Stir in 1/2 of cheddar and all of Parmesan cheeses, cook and stir until melted. Add Wise Punkin and yogurt to the mixture.  Once blended, stir in cooked and drained macaroni. Place in a 1-1/2qt baking dish.  Top with remaining cheddar and any other topping: herbs, panko, etc. Bake until bubbly, about 20 minutes. Any of the above dairy products may be substituted with low-fat options.

With each serving of Wise Punkin, you’re also adding:

Wise Punkin(130405)

* %DV based on FDA RDA for infants and children under four years of age.

Snacky Recipe: Wise Punkin Poppers

WisePunkinPoppersRecipe

When the holidays roll around, I get snacky. Here’s a favorite recipe at our house; all of us, from mom and dad to sister and brother, like these little Wise Punkin Poppers. Simple and snacky. Enjoy! – Fran

Wise Punkin Poppers for toddlers:

3 (4oz) pouches Wise Punkin
5oz thawed frozen or fresh corn (~1C)
1/3C corn meal mix
1/3C shredded cheddar
1 egg (beaten)
2T veggie oil
1/4 tsp garlic powder
dash salt

Mix all ingredients (except cheese) & pour into mini-muffin tin. Top with cheese (and tomatillo salsa for adults!). Bake at 375 for ~15 mins. DELICIOUS!

And the Moon Still Lives

full-moon-rise

I just watched the full moon rise with my baby boy sleeping in my arms. I tell you, looking up was peaceful, but jarring. It made me realize: this was the first time I’ve seen this big ol’ full moon rise since he arrived…10 months ago. And it made me wonder: when was the last time I looked up at night? How could I, someone who grew up wanting so desperately to be an astronaut, who “settled” on getting her pilot’s license instead, who has lived without a telescope for only a fraction of her life, lose track of lunar status?

And as he slept in my arms and cicadas sang around us, I remembered specific full moons. I remembered standing in a cotton field in the Arkansas Delta with my dad and a telescope after having a few scotches; I remembered being on a boat with 2,000 head of cattle and billions of stars in the Strait of Magellan, off the coast of Chile; I remembered this particular group of Ozarkian friends, who consisted of my now husband.

And I then remembered little moments of joy, strength, peace that had nothing to do with that old moon…and they all involved my kids in some way. Funny, huh? And I was consoled; I hadn’t missed a thing in the past 10 months. In fact, I’ve experienced…wholeheartedly…and the moon still lives.

~ Fran
(satisfied mama and very occasional moongazer)

4 Tools of the Mompreneur

One of the top questions I get asked: “Fran, how do you run a business AND a family?” Usually followed by a common comment: “I mean, you’ve taken on some big roles here.”

So, I’ve intended for quite some time to write a blog about how I do this whole Mompreneur thing, and I suppose this is blog entry #1.

On the whole, I can handle the day-to-day operations of running and growing a business and I consider myself somewhat of a darn good mom and wife. There are those days that are nothing more than an unresolvable puzzle. We all have those, not just those of us behind the helm of a baby food company. But, onward to the solvable stuff.

Today you’ve caught me in a reflective moment of recovery and excitement: I spent last week chatting with buyers from around the country and next week I’ll be on the production floor, producing our largest lot of baby food yet! How best to use my down time this weekend? Naturally, writing a first blog entry.

On a very basic level, there are four tools I keep in my survival kit; these are what I’d like to showcase today.

#1 – Good food
Being gluten-free and having somewhat of a renegade digestive system, I literally could not function without good food. This is the number one rule I follow when travelling, too. Fresh greens, lightly cooked whole foods, lean proteins.

#2 – Exercise
This has recently resurfaced in my life, and it’s been since high school since I’ve had a regular routine! I owe this to no one but my husband; with his regimens, I’m way too embarrassed to confess to him when I don’t go for a run around the lake, or a bike ride, or even a walk around downtown between conference calls. Again, while travelling, I have to go for a morning exertion of energy or I get lazy and cranky. (AND I’m proud to say that I’m now back to the same weight as high school. Ooh, did I really have to say that? Yes, I’ve been working hard on this and need to brag a little.)

#3 – Sleep
I do not reach my goals and I get just get plain weird without proper sleep. Deep and full sleep is the first thing to go when I fall under stress, and it is one viscous cycle. If I lose one good night of sleep, I know that consistently three more sleepless nights are to follow. I also know that it does not make sense for me to stay at the office during those days. It pays for me to go home, rest, and jump back in the saddle when I can wrangle that horse.

#4 – Pajamas
Yes, pajamas are absolutely integral. I have no qualms with admitting that I sometimes spend upwards of 8 hours a weekend day (during daylight hours) in my pajamas. I can relax, do some home chores, cook a damn good meal and evidently, write a first blog post in them. I once spent $180 on a super-soft organic cotton pair of pajamas and have never looked back. Invest in a good pair; your entire being will benefit from it, trust me.

Onward & Upward,
Fran

Cloth Diapers: Oh Mama at the choices

Blueberry Simplex, all-in-one that is currently on my baby's bottom

Okay, so you’ve always said you’d use them and that they’re really the only way to go: environment, healthy family, money-saving, super-cute fabrics, organic living, easier to potty train, all that…right? Yep. Baby arrives in T-minus-soon…curtain call. Which diaper do you use?

Good question. And one with an immediate answer, a revised answer, and followed by a monitor-and-adjust answer.

With Levi (Baby #2), I’m seeing a whole new world of cloth diapering options over what we had with Lucy (Baby #1) only 4 years ago. We started and ended with prefolds with Lucy. Simple, done. But with Levi, we started with prefolds and have now moved into all-in-ones. These are a little more snazzy, more stream-lined, and his pants fit properly. At 3 months, these work for him and work for us. But as the Ladies of Terra Tots (our local cloth diapering store) know all too well, I can come in at any minute and exchange the current lot for a whole new style.

Really, for me it comes down to simplicity, no leaky, freedom of movement for Levi. My friend, Rachel of Homemade and Hands on Mama, asked me and several other mamas last week about our cloth diapering preferences. The results are culminated here: http://homemadeandhandsonmomma.blogspot.com/2013/01/cloth-diapers-whats-best-brand.html Good stuff.

I do recommend checking out your local natural parenting store for advice. Terra Tots hosts a free cloth diaper workshop on the first Saturday of each month. They bring out all the styles for you to compare…helpful and eye-opening. And know that even if you end up exchanging the style you first chose, you’re still hitting those foundational goals. Every diaper helps, Mama.

- Fran (mom and diaper jockey)

Howdy neighbor! Oh Baby Foods is droppin’ by OKC.

howdy-neighborOklahoma babies, stop by the Oklahoma City Whole Foods Market to sample some Basil Babe, Pearfecto or Peachy Keen. Oh Baby Foods guarantees you’ll love’m all.

Stop by the store on Sat. Aug 4th from noon to 4pm and visit our in-store demo for samples. Be sure to bring your big brothers and sisters, too, for the Kid’s Club craft projects in the cafe. Your mom and dad will love the values going on this month! Oh Baby Food purees are on sale! So don’t miss out on the fun.

 

Living Small

eio kids cupWe’re all about local and we’re small. It takes me 7 minutes, door to door, to pedal my two wheels to work, and I love it. Every now and then, however, I find something cool that isn’t so close by and available here in Fayetteville, Arkansas. But that’s ok. I just check out Abe’s online store when I can’t find it here.

Today, I spotted a cool product while at the BHK Kafe for some fab coffee. On the counter was a snap-on cover that turns a mason jar into an instantly portable beverage container. It’s absolutely perfect for my hibiscus tea on these really hot July days, and no more hunting everywhere for the right lid to my plastic ‘to go’ cups. It’s a great time to toss those old plastic things.

Now, for the little ones, I have my eye on the EIO Kids Cup. The invitation to reuse all those food jars in my cupboard makes me really happy.

Sleeve set fit most 8 oz. glass canning jars. Check it out, Abes Market, online at http://www.abesmarket.com/kids-cup-cap-and-sleeve-set-2-pack.html

My Toddler Still Likes “Baby Food”

When I’m doing a demo and offering samples of Oh Baby Foods purees I am always thrilled to hear parents say, “Wow! That’s delicious!”

We hear that toddlers feel the same way about our unique and nutritious fruit and vegetable recipes. Here’s one story, in case you missed it. Check out this blog post (and others) from Still Seeking Martha.

http://stillseekingmartha.blogspot.com/2012/05/my-toddler-still-likes-baby-food.html

 

Father’s Day Giveaway: It’s Never Too Early to Plan for Your Oh Baby’s College Education

fathers-dayFather’s Day Giveaway: It’s Never Too Early to Plan for Your Oh Baby’s College Education

It’s nearly Father’s Day and Oh Baby Foods wants to help more babies get ready for college! We’d like to help you get ready for that day by offering a College Planning Strategy Session giveaway for Father’s Day 2012. 

We want to know:  Are you ready to hear the words, “Dad, I’m majoring in __________?”

Here at Oh Baby Foods we are all about working toward a better future. We are thinking about what’s best for babies, parents and for the future of local communities. So we are really excited to team up with The Wilson Coker Group to give away a College Planning Strategy Session that will help dads and moms develop a vision and map out the steps needed to bring that vision of their child’s future to life.

How to enter:  Just tell us in a comment below what you imagine your child’s first major in college will be. It’s that simple and you’ll be one step closer to putting your child through college.

Make your post to this blog before midnight Friday, June 15, 2012. On Saturday, June 16 we’ll announce the winner of this personalized planning session that can help you to: Identify your child’s college funding needs, develop strategies tailored to your family situation, create a personal college funding plan, outline actionable steps and develop a timeline. This one hour session with Jon Coker of the Wilson Coker Group of Morgan Keegan in Rogers, Arkansas, can be by phone or in person.

To enter the Oh Baby Foods College Planning Strategy Session giveaway you must post a comment below on this Oh Baby Foods Blog page telling us what you imagine your child’s first major in college will be. You can double your chances of winning by also ‘liking’ our Oh Baby Foods Face Book page. Already like our page? No problem, you’re automatically counted twice. Winner will be selected by random and announced on Saturday, June 16, 2012.

Oh Baby, it’s the fine print: This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook. You are providing your information to Oh Baby Foods, Inc. and not to Facebook. The information you provide will only be used for entry and eligibility for contest. No purchase necessary. Promotion ends June 15, 2012, 11:59 PM CDT. Must be a legal resident of the US and age 18 or older to participate. Planning session must be used before December 31, 2012. Taxes on prize, if applicable, are the responsibility of the winner. Void where prohibited. Oh Baby Foods, Inc. will not share your information with a 3rd party, and may use it for promotional purposes of Oh Baby Foods, Inc.